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I was in an intensive group seminar a few weeks ago and the group was struggling to deal with its own amazing power. At one point I said something and someone pointed out that my intervention had been very ineffective. Later in the days that same person publicly apologized to me for having done that.
At the time I didn’t say a word, but now I know what I could have said. I write it here because i want to focus on unlearning my natural tendencies, and because I feel that often “in the heat of the moment” I am unable to come up with that artful mix of personal revealing and effective action for the group that is required and that would make the difference between just opening your mouth instead of taking a stand for making progress on what the group might need….
“I felt you resented my intervention. I don’t know why. Was it because I dared to put myself out there? It felt to me as some kind of competition for preeminence or dominance … I suspect those judgments -if true – are a reflection of who you are not of what I did. One possibility is that we have different values in this room… I see that you and other people think that people are of unequal value, they either dominate or submit to each other based on what they know, their wisdom, their expertise…. Me and may be others: I believe in the radical equality of all people. I do.
Establishing dominance for personal reasons is a game I am not interested in playing. Nor I want to prove to anyone in this room how good I am or how many books I read or how many frameworks I master.
Apologizing? It feels like a love-fest crap to me. Let’s go instead beyond the interpersonal relationship and avoid the easy way out… The question is: right now how is our interaction being used by this group as a way for not doing the work the group is supposed to be doing?
Wouldn’t be awesome if life would allow us a re-play? 🙂
Adriano understands how to increase your returns on leadership. He works with professionals in world-class organizations that include Philip Morris, Microsoft, the World Bank, Johns Hopkins University, the US Marine Corps, the State Department and NASA. A skilled experiential educator with corporate leadership experience, he is the Founder & Principal Consultant of ParticipAction Consulting, Inc., a firm committed to help clients redefine change, collaboration and power in their organizations. He co-authored "Teachable Moments of Leadership" with Jill Hufnagel in 2016, on a learning methodology that gets results by going from PowerPoint to …powerful!